It's the most wonderful time of year. Out-of-office emails are set up, presents are piling up and end of the year "best of" lists are (hopefully) keeping you entertained.
In case you've missed it, MASN Nationals broadcaster Bob Carpenter has been sharing some of his favorite scorekeeping moments from the season on his Twitter (@scorebook_bob). We've decided to take some inspiration from him for this week's #TBT post:
Max goes the distance on 100 pitches w/11Ks, Zim hits #15 & drives in all 3 and the Nats sweep Giants. WSH 3 SF 1 May 31. pic.twitter.com/E4lx5K4tvT-- Bob Carpenter (@scorebook_bob) December 8, 2017
Here's the story behind the scorecard: You may recall that this year things got a little ugly between the Nationals and the Giants with a benches-clearing brawl that erupted on Memorial Day. After that, Nats fans wanted revenge, and they got just that in another dominant Max Scherzer performance on May 31, when he led the Nats to a 3-1 victory to complete a three-game sweep in San Francisco.
The defending National League Cy Young Award winner missed a complete game by just one out in his previous start on May 26 against the Padres, but he finished the job this time by going nine innings on an efficient 100 pitches. In his seventh career complete game, Mad Max retired 10 straight to start the game, recorded 11 strikeouts (including his 100th of the season) and did not issue a walk for the second time in 2017.
Other notable highlights include Ryan Zimmerman hitting his 15th homer of the season (a three-run shot off Matt Cain), best buds Trea Turner and Anthony Rendon adding two hits apiece, and Dusty Baker inching one win closer to becoming the 16th manager with 1,800 career victories. Also, the Nats enjoyed a pregame visit from Hall of Famer and Giants legend Willie Mays.
We've got lots more "Nationals Classics" to keep you entertained throughout the holiday week on MASN:
Friday, Dec. 22, 7 p.m. - On April 25 in Denver, Turner turned a cold day into a hot night as he hit for the cycle, drove in a career-high seven RBIs and scored four runs. He became the second-youngest player to hit for the cycle and record seven or more RBIs in major league history (behind Joe DiMaggio). It was the third cycle in Nationals history, and the ninth in Nationals/Expos history.
Sunday, Dec. 24, 2 p.m. - With a 6-1 win against the Pirates, and the Mets' loss to the Phillies 23 minutes later, the Nats secured first-place finish and clinched their third NL East title in five years on Sept. 24, 2016 at PNC Park. Highlights include a strong relief performance from rookie Reynaldo Lopez and clutch hitting from Stephen Drew.
Tuesday, Dec. 26, noon - Why do the kids call him Zim? Well, to answer that question we're giving you a marathon of moments in "A Christmas Story"-style, starting with his rookie season. In 2006, the Nats' first draft pick Ryan Zimmerman spent the season building a reputation as a dominant home run hitter. He set off early fireworks on the Fourth of July at RFK Stadium with a ninth-inning three-run homer that lifted the Nats to a 6-4 win over the Marlins. The Nats had won their fourth straight contest, and Zimmerman hit his second game-winning homer in less than three weeks. But that wasn't the first time that week Zimmerman saved the day ...
Tuesday, Dec. 26, 3 p.m. - ... He did it again on July 6, also against the Marlins. With the game tied at 7-7 and two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning, Zim hit the game-winning RBI single to give the Nats an 8-7 win.
Tuesday, Dec. 26, 7 p.m. - Trailing 4-3 to the then Florida Marlins with no outs and one on, Zimmerman hit his 28th home run of the 2009 season on Sept. 6 into the Red Porch to plate Cristian Guzman and snap the Nats' eight-game losing streak.
Wednesday, Dec. 27, 9 a.m. - Another tie game. Another chance for Zimmerman heroics, this time at the expense of the Padres. Zim led off the ninth inning with the game knotted at 5-5 and sent the second pitch he saw over the center field fence at Nats Park on July 6, 2010. Not that it should surprise anyone, but it was his second homer of the day.
Wednesday, Dec. 27, noon - Down 5-4 in the ninth, Zimmerman came through again with a one-out three-run homer off the Phillies' Brad Lidge to lift the Nats to a 7-5 win on July 31, 2010. It was Zim's 12th career homer against the NL East rival and 18th of the season.
Wednesday, Dec. 27, 3:30 p.m. - With two outs, a full count and bases loaded in a 4-4 game against the Phillies, Mr. Walk-off completed a six-run ninth inning with a game-winning grand slam off Ryan Madson for the Nats' 8-4 victory on Aug. 18, 2011.
Wednesday, Dec. 27, 7 p.m. - Nine years after blasting a walk-off homer against the Yankees' Chien Ming-Wang, Zim did it again against the Bronx Bombers on May 19, 2015 with a 10th-inning two-run shot into right field, capping the Nats' rally from a 6-2 deficit to an 8-6 win. It was his 10th career walk-off homer, which earned him a sweet chocolate syrup shower from Scherzer.
Wednesday, Dec. 27, 11:59 p.m. - On April 19, 2016, the Nats got a little restless after six innings and decided to break open a scoreless game against Miami with four homers in the seventh. Dingers from Zimmerman (shocker), Wilson Ramos and Jayson Werth (his 200th career home run), and Bryce Harper's grand slam powered the Nats to their 7-0 win.
From all of us here at MASNsports.com, we wish you a wonderful holiday season and New Year. May the calendar keep bringin' Happy Holidays to you.